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Choir students on their way to Carnegie Hall

Final $3,200 raised Friday
By: Stephanie Dumm News Messenger Reporter
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Singing on stage at Carnegie Hall is less of a dream and more of a reality for 21 Lincoln High School students. After nearly a year of fundraising, Lincoln High School select choir members have the funds necessary to travel to New York City. They will perform in the Festival of Gold concert this April 3 at New York City’s Carnegie Hall. The trip to Carnegie Hall costs each student $2,300, which includes travel, lodging, food and tickets, according to the school’s choir director Cindy Hagman. The deadline to pay for the trip was Tuesday and the choir raised the final $3,200 needed for the trip through ticket sales from last Friday’s benefit concert featuring classical pianist Jee Wong, according to Hagman. “We just made it under the wire,” Hagman said. “I’m really ecstatic. In fact, I’m kind of a little bit in disbelief because we’ve been working at it so long.” The students have performed at various fundraisers, including benefit concerts, fireworks sales and chores to reach their goal, according to previous News Messenger reports. Sara Wright, 17, thanked her father for his part in raising money for her trip. “My dad did most of the fundraising, more than half,” Wright said. “My dad gets all of the credit. I want to say ‘thank you, dad,’ for everything he’s done and for working really hard.” Her father sold fireworks and sold beverages at the California State Fair this summer, according to Wright. “I’m looking forward to going to the other side of the country and seeing the Statue of Liberty,” Wright said. “I want to be able to tell my kids that I got to sing at Carnegie Hall in high school, and if I could do it, they can do it.” Nicole Powell, 19, is thankful for the community’s help. “I felt like the community pulled together to help us,” Powell said. “I think, even though it was really hard, we did it. We are like a team.” Powell said she is looking forward to being on stage with 400 other students during the April 3 concert. “I was worried that a lot of us wouldn’t be able to go,” Gabe Fanire, 15, said. “It will be great for everybody to be able to go.” Aside from being on stage, Fanire said he looks forward to seeing the Statue of Liberty and getting some New York pizza. “I’ve heard it was good,” Fanire said. Now that the youth have the money to travel to New York City, the choir can fine-tune the music they will perform at Carnegie Hall. “We will perform six really high-level songs. They are college-level music and really challenging,” Hagman said. “It’s out of my comfort zone but these kids are diving in with both feet and working hard to learn.” The students will rehearse the songs both during class and at home. Hagman said they have CD’s with the six songs on them. Hagman said she appreciates the community’s help. “The cool thing about this is there was no big donor that came about,” Hagman said. “It was an effort of so many people here in this town.” The choir teacher is also looking for any former choir students from Lincoln High School to perform in an alumni concert on March 18. Contact Hagman at 645-6360 or at lhs.choir@yahoo.com.